Examining the old G.I. Joe cartoon maxim with the show’s creator, the voice that Shipwreck, an actual veteran and others


It’s exactly how G.I. Joe: A real American Hero closed out every episode: after ~ the an excellent guys beat Cobra, a quick small public business announcement would appear with a fairly simple morality message. For example, this random youngsters break a window playing baseball, and also they consider lying to their mom around it. Suddenly, some army dude rolls increase in a combat jeep choose some shit’s around to walk down, and also he speak the youngsters why lied is bad. 

That army dude, that course, is Flint, and the kids know that he is, therefore it’s every good. After ~ Flint’s little speech, the youngsters decide to fess approximately their mom, setting Flint up by saying, “Now we know,” come which Flint replies, “And learning is fifty percent the battle.” 

“And knowing is half the battle” is how every one of these PSAs concluded and today, 30-some-odd year after the cartoon went turn off the air, the catchphrase has prolonged life in the type of various memes.

You are watching: Knowing is half the battle meme

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But while most memes and online jokes often tend to die out in a month, “knowing is half the battle” never ever seems come fade away. So, in celebration event of this motto’s enduring glory, I got to out to a number of experts on the subject, consisting of people affiliated in the cartoon, G.I. Joe fans, a life coach, an internet historian, an expert on PSAs and, for good measure, someone who actually offered in the military. 

Hopefully they’ll provide you through something you didn’t know before because, well, girlfriend know…

Donnie Keene, G.I. Joe fan: I took pleasure in those PSAs after ~ the cartoon. Being a young kid once I watched them, seeing her favorite cartoon characters doing the appropriate thing to be important. It was coherent to me, and also they played a function in who I am today. 

One storage I have actually related to the catchphrase was as soon as I had actually a neighbor the lived throughout the street and also their child was a year or two younger 보다 me. He had a muscular disease, and also others in the ar wouldn’t play through him. After ~ watching one of the G.I. Joe episodes and also seeing one of those PSAs, ns went throughout the street and asked his mommy if that was okay if Nathan and I played together. She smiled and also said sure, so us played firearms outside, going about his house, having fun. 

Over the next few years we would certainly hang out with each other at his house, play guns and also Nintendo in his room. That passed far from pneumonia at the period of 11. Ns thankful that I was able to hopefully lug him part normalcy and happiness while he was here, and also that’s all due to the fact that of G.I. Joe and also doing the appropriate thing.

Ron Friedman, series creator of G.I. Joe: A real American Hero and author of I eliminated Optimus Prime: Confessions of a Hollywood Screenwriter: Ignorance has claimed an ext lives 보다 the black Plague, the Spanish Flu and also coronavirus combined, and will proceed to perform so. The remedy for ignorance is knowledge, which is always hard-earned, and when provided with generosity and also an open mind, is constantly the first half that the solution. If friend can define the problem, you have the right to work it out. It is why I contained that expression in the cartoon, which i made up based on my years together a working architect and part-time polite engineer.

Col. Jim Hawkins, retired, Army, served 34 years (and a Kentucky Colonel too!): That phrase — “knowing is half the battle” — originates from that old army maxim: “The very first blow is half the battle.” In helpful military terms, expertise your opposition improves your possibilities of success. For example, in Iraq, as soon as we would conduct convoy operations, it to be pretty basic to look at a map and also say, “I’m walk to go from Baghdad to Fallujah,” but that’s not enough. You’d need to go come the intelligence section and get the latest briefings on enemy task along the route, and also you’d make certain you had actually your course mapped out and also had knowledge of the terrain follow me the way. Over there would additionally be a whole evaluation of what the potential threats would be. By understanding what can be out there, and also then understanding what to perform if friend run right into that, every that boosts your odds of success if girlfriend did run into trouble. 

Also, understanding things prefer the arrays of the enemy’s weapons mechanism versus your tools system, you deserve to then collection up a fight where her tanks space at a variety where you deserve to kill them however they can’t death you. That kind of knowledge improves your chances of success, for this reason I’d say that’s pretty good advice from Joe. Also if the public service announcements were a small cheesy, castle did carry out a pretty necessary life lesson.

Don Caldwell, net historian and editor-in chef of Know her Meme: In terms of the significance of the “And understanding is half the battle” PSAs online, I’d to speak the most important thing is a series of parody videos produced by film housing Eric Fensler back in 2003. Fensler took the original PSAs indigenous the 1980s cartoon and dubbed nonsensical dialogue end them, which consequently went famous after being spread on sites favor eBaum’s World, Heavy and Fensler’s personal website. Fensler later obtained hit with a cease and also desist from Hasbro end the parodies.

These videos are remarkable for a variety of reasons. They were viral videos that managed to explode across the internet prior to YouTube even existed, mainly living as embedded QuickTimes on miscellaneous sites. It’s also interesting exactly how iconic castle became, with references to them showing up in the Adult Swim show Venture Bros, the music video for “Pork and Beans” by Weezer and also the video clip game duke Nukem Forever.

“Knowing,” however, can not be also close to “half the battle,” depending on the context. Cognitive researchers Laurie Santos and also Tamar Gendler coined the “G.I. Joe Fallacy” to attend to evidence that simply being aware of cognitive biases does small to aid overcome them.

Elisabeth Bigsby, professor of communications at university of Illinois, writer of the journal post “Efficiently and also Effectively analyzing Public service Announcements”: In general, an easy and constant messages are an ext effective than complex or diverse messages. For example, these G.I. Joe PSAs sheathe several various topics, together as telling the truth, stranger danger and teamwork. Return they might all fall under the umbrella the morality and also safety, the messages would be much more effective if they grounding to one blog post (for example, not lying), at least for a duration of time (e.g., a season or number of episode arc). 

Kids especially benefit from frequent, consistent messaging. The most consistent part of the PSAs space the tagline “and discovering is half the battle,” which i bet world who watched the display as children still psychic today. However, they probably don’t mental the specific lessons from each PSA. An effective tagline however probably not reliable at teaching lessons long term.

“Knowing is half the battle,” though, is a nice accurate summary of the knowledge-to-behavior link. In mine area of study — health communication — we think about different stages or phases for communicating information. First, civilization need knowledge (e.g., smoking cigarettes cigarettes has an unfavorable health consequences). Yet having understanding isn’t sufficient to journey behavior, people additionally need to be i was sure in your abilities to avoid a behavior (e.g., quitting smoking). They likewise need to have the skills to spread the recommended behavior (e.g., discovering where and also how to acquire smoking cessation help). Knowledge, though, does start the procedure of learning a new behavior or an altering a behavior. 

Lindsay Jackson, certified life coach at Eleven 11 Coaching and also host the Necessi-Tea Podcast: As a coach, I’d say the “knowing is fifty percent the battle” is about knowing what you’ve currently been through and also knowing what you’re qualified of. Even if you’re experiencing doubt, “knowing is half the battle” is around recognizing what you’ve currently overcome in your life. From there, you can go forward v what you recognize to be true — the you can rise come the challenge you’re facing.

Neil Ross, actor, voice that Shipwreck and author of Vocal Recall: A Life in Radio and also Voiceovers: While i have numerous memories of functioning on G.I. Joe, none of them are specifically about the PSAs. I know I walk a couple of because human being reference them and a couple are top top YouTube, yet they would have actually been recorded conveniently either just prior to or simply after a record session because that the show. Ns did mention the PSAs in my autobiography though, as I know they — and G.I. Joe in general — had actually an affect on countless fans.

Here’s what I created exactly: “Many times, at personal appearances, I and my fellow actors members will certainly be approached by a pan wanting to say thanks to us. While the stories differ in several of the particulars they room all fairly similar. The fan will speak that being raised in a less than preferable home situation, of gift bullied and also ostracized in school. Castle tell united state that all they had actually was G.I. Joe or Transformers to teach castle values, and they feel as though us in some means helped salvage their lives.

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“They referral the positive values the public service announcements in G.I. Joe teach them. Castle tell united state that they go out into the people determined to live their resides with the courage and also integrity of duke or also Shipwreck (Lord assist them). Lock speak of lives well led together a result, of effective careers in the army or civilian life. They tell us of households they’ve created, and also children they’ve increased well. Occasionally those youngsters are in tow and, many thanks to mother or dad’s old DVDs or videos, they’re pan of the reflects too. I’m not ashamed come say some of these folks and the story they tell, have lugged me close come tears.”

As come “knowing is fifty percent the battle,” what that way to me is the value of preparation. A many of world tend come go through life by just winging it. Sometimes that works, but in mine opinion, eventually it leader to failure. Girlfriend prepare by gaining as lot knowledge and also as many an abilities as feasible that pertain come your favored path in life. It is “half the battle.” The rest of the fight is following that chosen path.